In 2016, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust released its second line of cigars, and—perhaps most notably–the company’s first line to incorporate a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper. Named Mi Querida—which translates to my mistress from Spanish—the cigar is made at Nicaragua American Cigars S.A. (NACSA), the Estelí-based factory with ties to the Oliva Tobacco Co., which is widely regarded as being one of the better tobacco companies when it comes to working with that specific tobacco.
While that original Mi Querida has grown to encompass more than 12 different vitolas since it debuted, Dunbarton also released as second brand in 2019 named Mi Querida Triqui Traca. That slightly stronger blend gets its name from a Nicaraguan term for firecrackers that are tied together and is differentiated by its red and gold band, compared to the original Mi Querida’s navy blue and gold band.
Earlier this year, Dunbarton announced it would be releasing a third line extension named Mi Querida Black, made up of a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper covering a Mexican San Andrés negro binder as well as filler tobaccos grown in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua. According to Saka, the Mi Querida Black blend is expected to be offered in multiple sizes next year, but the first cigar in the line was shown off during the 2022 PCA Convention & Trade Show, a 7 1/4 x 54 double corona named Sakakhan.
If you are wondering about the name Sakakhan, Saka detailed the origin of the moniker in a Facebook post:
It was the 80’s when Chaka Khan became known as an artist and I was getting certified to Con(n) as a JOOD Underway on my ship – the enlisted guys who worked the Bridge started calling me this… kinda funny as my middle name ‘Temujin’ is also the birth name of Ghengis Khan… so this is double dip when it comes to why this nickname stuck… my Dad obviously had some pretty lofty expectations.
As is the case with both the regular Mi Querida and the Triqui Traca lines, the Mi Querida Black Sakakhan is made at Nicaragua American Cigars S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua. The MSRP for the Mi Querida Black Sakakhan is set at $15.95 per cigar and the release is limited to 3,500 boxes of 10 cigars that began arriving at retailers early last month.
While the Sakakhan is new for 2022, the cigar is not. This exact same blend and vitola was actually sold last November as an exclusive for JR Cigar and the retailer’s 50th anniversary. The cigars are the same outside of the packaging and the price, the SakaKhan is $1 per cigar more expensive than the JR release.
- Cigar Reviewed: Mi Querida Black SakaKhan
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Nicaragua American Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: U.S.A. (Connecticut Broadleaf)
- Binder: Mexico (San Andrés Negro)
- Filler: Dominican Republic, Honduras & Nicaragua
- Length: 7 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Churchill Extra
- MSRP: $15.95 (Box of 10, $159.50)
- Release Date: August 2022
- Number of Cigars Released: 3,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (35,000 Total Cigars)*
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
*This does not include the aforementioned 2021 release at JR Cigar.
Visually, the Mi Querida SakaKhan is a sight to behold, highlighted by a dark espresso brown wrapper that, despite the copious amount of oil that is present, is parchment-rough to the touch. There are plenty of veins running up and down all three cigars, but none of those veins are overly distracting and the small pigtail coiled on top of each cap is a nice touch. After physical inspections, I find a soft spot close to the foot on the right side of the main band on my first cigar, but the other two have no such issues. Aromas from the wrapper include strong, sweet wood, earth, leather, barnyard, black pepper and fairly generic sweetness. The foot’s aroma features notes of dry oak, baker’s spices, dark chocolate, espresso beans, raisin sweetness and a touch of citrus. Finally, after a straight cut, the cold draw brings flavors of strong almonds, leather, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, gritty earth and milk chocolate sweetness.
Starting out, the first thing I notice is some obvious mineral saltiness on my lips, along with distinct oak and black pepper flavors. As the burn progresses, the oak remains one of the top flavors in the profile—it is joined by a strong and rich roasted espresso bean flavor after about eight puffs—followed by dry straw, gritty earth, leather plain popcorn, pencil lead and light cinnamon. In addition, there is a small amount of black pepper on the retrohale, which also features a stronger fruity sweetness that reminds me of pomegranate at times. Both the flavor and the body have no problem reaching a point just under medium by the end of the first third, while the strength is lagging just a bit behind them so far. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a straight cut, the burn line on all three cigars is a bit wavy but non-problematic and there is no lack of thick, gray smoke.
A dry tea leaf note takes over the main flavor in the profile during the second third of the cigar, followed by secondary notes of creamy oak, dank earth, roasted coffee beans, toasted bread, cinnamon and creamy hay. There is a bit more pomegranate sweetness on the retrohale—and a bit less black pepper—while the mineral saltiness on my lips has also decreased slightly. In addition, one cigar features a very light floral note on the finish, but it is gone almost before I can place it. Flavor bumps up to medium-full and is still rising, the body is just a bit over medium and the strength is also at a solid medium, but the latter seems content to stay put for the moment. The burn on the problematic cigar from the first third has evened up nicely—the other two cigars are great in that regard—while both the smoke production and draws continue along their excellent paths.
The main flavors in the profile of the SakaKhan change again during the final third, this time to a combination of rich cocoa nibs and gritty earth that continue until the end of the cigar. Additional notes of dark chocolate, dried tea leaves, creamy oak, espresso beans, sourdough bread and very light citrus peel flit in and out at various points. While the retrohale has barely changed compared to the second third—meaning there is a small amount of black pepper combined with slightly more pomegranate sweetness—the mineral saltiness that has been noticeable on my lips for the first two thirds has completely dissipated. Flavor ends the cigar firmly in the full range, while the strength reaches medium-plus and the body lands halfway between medium and full. Finally, although the smoke production remains copious and the draws continue to be excellent on all three cigars, one cigar has enough burn issues that I am forced to touch it up twice in quick succession.
- The smoke emanating from this cigar smells distinctly like graham crackers to me.
- When I first saw it, I absolutely loved the simplicity of the band: the silver pops out from the black background as well as the darkness of the wrapper it is wrapped around. However, when I looked at them closer up and in person, I realized that the design that is used on the boxes is also embossed into the background of each band, a very nice touch for those who notice it.
- During my interview with Saka at the 2022 PCA Convention, he told me that Dunbarton will most likely produce a total of 1.8 million cigars this year, which is an increase of more than 400,000 cigars compared to 2021. Saka also estimated that number will increase to around 2.5 million total cigars by the end of next year.
- Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust advertises on halfwheel.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time averaged two hours and 7 minutes for all three cigars, although my first cigar smoked noticeably faster than the other two for some reason.
- If you would like to purchase any of the Mi Querida SakaKhan cigars, site sponsors Cigar Hustler, Corona Cigar Co. and Famous Smoke Shop all have them in stock.
A flavor bomb from the first puff to the last, the Mi Querida SakaKhan is highlighted by main notes that include cocoa nibs, earth, oak, espresso beans and dried tea leaves, along with a constant pomegranate sweetness on the retrohale. However, the black pepper I was expecting has been toned down quite a bit—especially in the final two thirds of the cigar—replaced by an overall creaminess that really helps to balance out the earthiness that is present. In the end, the Mi Querida Black SakaKhan is a bold and superbly balanced addition to the Mi Querida family and a cigar that is well worth taking the time and effort to track down.